Cape Town — It was about this time last year that George Linde suffered the biggest disappointment of his cricket career.
Despite being a virtual regular in the Proteas T20 Internationals starting XI, tasked with the responsibility of taking the new ball in the PowerPlay and hitting a few lusty blows towards the backend of the innings, Linde was dropped for the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
He did travel to the UAE, but as nothing more than a drinks carrier and net bowler as part of the larger reserves squad.
It was a killer blow for the Western Province all-rounder. Suddenly everything that mattered so much to him he wanted no part of anymore with Linde opting out of the New Zealand Test tour earlier this year.
But having spent the past winter playing for Kent in the English County Championship, where he unfortunately picked up a knee injury, the 30-year-old has had time to reflect and has returned refreshed and ready to fight for a place in the national team again.
“To be honest, I did struggle mentally. After the World Cup non-selection I tried to be positive but it was really difficult. I was negative for at least nine months and then probably a month ago, since I got injured actually, I just took a step away from the game a bit and I realised what I had to do,” Linde told IOL Sport.
“I have to be more positive, and work on myself to be a better person every day. I am just trying to enjoy my cricket again and hopefully things will go forward from here on.”
Linde’s all-round skills may have put on the back burners in regards to the national team, but it has certainly not been forgotten by the broader cricket community.
The MI Cape Town franchise, who will be based at Linde’s Newlands homeground, picked him for R3.9-million in Monday’s inaugural SA20 auction, and he certainly believes this is just the confidence booster he needed.
“It's amazing. I was joking with the guys that I can't get away from Newlands. I am very excited to be with MI Cape Town. It's a big franchise, the biggest in the world, it's a good opportunity to play with and against some superstars and to learn from them,” Linde said.
I feel like it's (SA20) something to work towards too, but my main goal to be honest is the World Cup next year in India. Hopefully if I do well in domestic cricket I can get back into the SA squad, because that's where I want to play. I don't just want to play for Western Province. I want to play for higher honours.”